The quality and amount of sleep you get can have a profound effect on your health. A common sleep disorder problem is known as Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and effects millions of people.

An individual with OSA experiences times during sleep in which air cannot flow normally into the lungs. This condition is typically caused by the collapse of soft tissues in the back of the throat and tongue. The result can mean breathing may actually stop for short periods of time and can contribute to a number of health-related problems.

OSA is a potentially very serious health risk and should be checked out early.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea is most commonly found in:

  • Men and women after menopause
  • People over the age of 65
  • Individuals who are overweight are at higher risk
  • People with large tonsils or adenoids
  • People with jaw problems
  • OSA can be hereditary

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

While sleeping:

  • Loud snoring
  • Gasping or choking sounds
  • Pauses in breathing
  • Sudden or jerky body movements
  • Tossing and turning
  • Frequent awakenings

While awake:

  • Morning headache and sluggishness
  • Dry or sore throat in the morning
  • Sleepiness and tiredness during the day
  • Personality changes, mood swings
  • Poor memory and lack of concentration

OSA can be very dangerous if left untreated. You can fall asleep while driving, develop high blood pressure and heart disease, have a stroke or even be at risk for early death.

How do you know if you have Sleep Apnea?

Sleep Apnea can be effectively diagnosed and treated in a number of ways. The first thing to do is to get diagnosed by participating in a sleep study. This is conducted at a sleep center during an overnight stay.

During this process your breathing, heart rate, sleep state and oxygen levels will be monitored.

If you are diagnosed with OSA there are several treatment options based on the reasons for and severity of your problem. If, for example, your sleep apnea is due to being overweight, weight loss may cause the condition to completely go away. Other treatment actions might include:

  • Avoiding alcohol at least 4 hours before bedtime
  • Sleeping on your side instead of your back
  • Use of a sleep aid device such as a CPAP or BiPAP
    • The Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) is a common device that features a mask worn during sleep which channels air from a compressor over the upper airway.
  • Surgery

At Texas Allergy and Breathing Centers, we will help you find the sleep solution that is right for you.